Best of 2011: Fox News Viewers Less Informed and Other Media-Centric Stories

Want to Know How Well the Public Did on A News Quiz?

Large majorities of the public know that Afghanistan and Pakistan share a border and can identify Hillary Clinton in a photograph as the nation’s secretary of state, according to the Pew Research Center’s latest News IQ survey, which for the first time includes visual questions.

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Fox News viewers less informed about current events, poll shows

By Michael A. Memoli

A new survey of New Jersey voters comes to a provocative conclusion: Fox News viewers tend to be less informed about current events than those who don’t watch any news at all.

Fairleigh Dickinson University recently questioned 612 adults in New Jersey about how they get their news, offering as options traditional outlets like newspapers and local and national television news, or blogs, websites and even Comedy Central‘s “The Daily Show.”

They then asked a series of factual questions about the major events of the last year, from the “Arab Spring” to the Republican race for president.

For example, respondents were first asked whether, to the best of their knowledge, opposition groups in Egypt had been successful in bringing down the Mubarak regime.

Among NPR listeners, 68% correctly said they had been; only 49% of Fox News viewers answered correctly. In fact, the survey found, Fox viewers were 18 percentage points less likely to answer correctly than those who watched no news at all.

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Race, sex, religion, color, national origin, age, disability, and veteran status are all what are called protected classes under federal law — characteristics that cannot be used as the basis for discrimination in hiring, housing, or other arenas. There are loopholes, however; one is that it is acceptable to discriminate based on a protected characteristic if you can show that it is “bona fide occupational qualification” (BFOQ). So, for instance, if you can show that being female is a legitimate requirement for being able to perform a particular job, you can refuse to hire men. Hooters used the BFOQ argument when they were sued for sex discrimination because they would not hire men as servers.

The exceptions are race and color, which are not legally seen as ever being legitimate qualifications for doing a job. As the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission websitestates, “Nor may race or color ever be a bona fide occupational qualification under Title VII.” That is, there is absolutely no good reason that being of one race or another would ever be a legal basis for hiring.

And yet, there’s still at least one arena where race is blatantly and openly used as a basis for hiring: Hollywood casting. Back in 2006, Russell Robinson, a faculty member at the UCLA School of Law, looked at the sex and race/ethnicity characteristics specified in “breakdowns” — the summaries of characteristics presented in casting announcements. As Robinson explains in the article “Casting and Caste-ing: Reconciling Artistic Freedom and Antidiscrimination Norms,” his sample certainly doesn’t include all roles in the process of being cast during that period. Roles aimed at big stars who don’t go through the typical audition process may never be released as a breakdown, since there’s no intent to recruit for the role. But

Robinson’s team looked at all breakdowns for feature films released between June 1 and August 31, 2006, excluding calls for extras and stunt people. As they reported in the research brief “Hollywood’s Race/Ethnicity and Gender-Based Casting: Prospects for a Title VII Lawsuit,” the vast majority of the breakdowns explicitly state the race of the character, with only 8.5% of roles open to any race/ethnicity:

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Contrary to much of the conventional understanding of how people learn about their communities, Americans turn to a wide range of platforms to get local news and information, and where they turn varies considerably depending on the subject matter and their age, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and Internet & American Life Project, produced in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation that asks about local information in a new way. Most Americans, including more tech-savvy adults under age 40, also use a blend of both new and traditional sources to get their information.

Overall, the picture revealed by the data is that of a richer and more nuanced ecosystem of community news and information than researchers have previously identified.

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Hollyworld: Why are Arabs always the bad guys?

Directors and critics in the Middle East are divided about how Hollywood portrays Arabs.

 Editor’s note: “Hollyworld” is a semi-regular series covering Hollywood’s impact on the world and celebrity culture around the globe

Hollyworld 2011 1 21

(Illustration by Antler./GlobalPost)

JERUSALEM — As he watched the news coverage of the Arab Spring, Palestinian filmmaker George Khleifi wondered what the TV footage might mean to the West.

“If 30, 40 or 50 years ago this revolution in Egypt would have taken place, I think maybe not 10 percent of Americans would see it,” Khleifi said. “Now with satellite and the internet — there is a revolution and Arabs are not who they thought they were.”

Khleifi hopes Hollywood will take cues from Tahrir Square to improve its portrayal of Arabs on film. According to Emory University professor Jack Shaheen, the West has long portrayed Arabs as petty, dishonest and lecherous in films.

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10 Most Embarrassing Stereotypes in Sci-Fi

Whether it’s an alien who might as well be called a “space Jew,” or an evil Asian ripping the hearts out of innocent victims in an exotic ritual, racial and ethnic stereotypes in SF often reach facepalm levels of fail.

Today, let us contemplate 10 of the most embarrassingly awful stereotypes we’ve had to endure in the process of trying to enjoy our favorite movies and television series.

Mostly I’ve chosen stuff from the last 40 years here, just because we could easily fill pages and pages with all the wrongness before that – think Ming the Merciless (evil Asian guy) or the many stereotypes of African Americans that emerge in stories of visiting “savage” planets. What’s sad is that we haven’t come that far since those overtly racist days. So without further ado, here are the characters that make you want to slap some sense into somebody and make them read some Nisi Shawl.

10 of the most embarrassing racial and ethnic stereotypes in science fiction10. The radioactive white trash people in The Hills Have Eyes
Honestly, any movie in the genre of “nice people waylaid by magical/mutant hillbillies,” from2,000 Maniacs to House of 1,000 Corpses is jam-packed with stereotypes of poor white folks who live in the hills, fuck their brothers and sisters, torture outsiders for fun, descend into cannibalism, and speak in twangy accents. Bonus points if they dress in weird animal skins, are fat and/or ugly, and say “Momma, what should we do with this long pig?” a lot. Also bonus points for clown makeup and moonshine.

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One thought on “Best of 2011: Fox News Viewers Less Informed and Other Media-Centric Stories

  1. It’s difficult to find experienced people in this particular subject,
    however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

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